A dispute between Village South Mobile Home Park tenants Bryan and Chelsey Eastman and their landlord, Delbert Justus, heads to a hearing this afternoon in Ellis County Court at Law No. 1, Judge Steve Chapman presiding.

Court documents filed by Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas filed on the Eastmans’ behalf allege retaliation on Justus’ part after Chelsey Eastman contacted the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality about conditions in the park. That retaliation included raising the family’s rent $100 a month effective Sept. 1 and cutting their water off. The couple has since been served with a 30-day eviction notice. 

In a telephone conversation, Tony Walker, regional director, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Region II, confirmed his agency’s investigation into Village South Mobile Home Park.

The state agency had received a complaint of sewage gas odor and then a report of sewage backing up into the plumbing, he said.

“Our investigator did go out there, visited with the tenants and had a discussion with the property owner,” Walker said, identifying that person as Delbert Justus. “We did determine there were issues (and the owner was informed) he needed to get us more information.”

As of last week, the TCEQ had not received that information, Walker said, noting Justus was asked to determine what was causing the problem and to let the state agency know if repairs had been made.

The TCEQ is completing a report related to the July visit and a failure on the part of the property owner to provide requested information could warrant the agency filing a notice of violation, with a deadline placed for a resolution.

“We have made him aware of these things,” Walker said.

The sewage system at Village South is a private system, Walker confirmed.

Justus, a deacon at First Baptist Church of Midlothian and treasurer of Manna House, a nonprofit social service organization in Midlothian, has told the Daily Light that the Eastmans are “nothing but trouble.”

Justus and one of his daughters own the rental unit where the Eastman family resides. Another daughter serves as the park’s manager.

Contact JoAnn at joann@wninews.com or 469-517-1452.